Knicks' Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel on upcoming increased MSG crowd: 'They’re definitely living in the moment right now'

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Fans at MSG from first game back
Fans at MSG from first game back

It's been over eight years since playoff basketball was played at Madison Square Garden.

And after playing on the court with no more than 2,000 people in the stands at MSG all year, that number is expected to increase immensely for Game 1 on Sunday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that both the Knicks and Nets will have vaccinated sections in their respective arenas, with no limits on how many people can sit in those sections.

Owner James Dolan said he wants people sitting "shoulder to shoulder" in vaccinated sections, and the Knicks expect at least 13,000 people at the Garden in each of their home playoff games.

"It’s gonna be pretty packed in there, and we’re excited about that," Julius Randle told reporters on Wednesday. "Fun, just the energy, all that. We went from no fans to a certain amount to a good amount now, and I think it’s perfect timing.”

Nerlens Noel found out about the increase when he was asked about it in his media availability, and glowed up immediately.

"It’s been electric in there, even at 2,000 or whatever it was," Noel said. "I’m super excited to get however many plus more. I think it’s gonna be a great atmosphere for us. I know the fans are gonna bring it at a high level.

"It’s been eight years… so I know they’re definitely living in the moment right now, ready to capture it, and seize it. Us, as a collective unit, have to make sure we’re doing what we need to give them what they want, for them to be our sixth man, and push us through.”

Game 1 will take place on Sunday, as the Atlanta Hawks come to town.